The quick answer is that we all do from time to time.
If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve offered to give your children an attitude adjustment. At work, you may have mentally offered to give one to a co-worker…free of charge. Maybe thinking about it wasn’t enough and you actually said the words out loud. How did that go? Was the person as receptive to feedback as they claimed they would be? I suspect not. At least you're still alive to read this post.
On the flip side, have you ever taken a close look at yourself? No, I’m not talking about looking into a mirror. I’m talking about looking at what makes you tick and acknowledging both your good and bad character traits (including your attitude). It’s not easy to look for both the good and the bad. People who are too hard on themselves fail to see the good and those who are, shall we say, unable to do wrong, haven’t seen a bad character trait in years. The key is to find the right balance.
While an occasional self-assessment is good, sometimes a third party (person or event) has to be your wake-up call. Here are a few items that have forced me to take a good look at myself.
I haven’t been so called normal for a very long time both mentally and physically. Mentally, I have a warped sense of humour. Physically, I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was a child and I have been having fun ever since. Over the years, I’ve put a new spin on my diagnosis by adding new types of seizures. Variety may be the spice of life, but I’d be okay with a life that was a little less spicy.
When I started having grand mal seizures, I stopped driving. Losing that freedom was, and continues to be, one of my biggest regrets and irritations. I hate being reliant on people to get me from Point A to Point B. I work in a different city than I live, so I have to arrange carpools or have my husband drive me to work, even when he doesn’t work in the same city. Sometimes it gets frustrating to plan my life around other people.
On the flip side, I have to remember how lucky I am to be able to work. I have always been able to work, even with epilepsy. In fact, I’ve had speaking engagements at conferences and one coming up in May. Each time I’m going to speak, part of me secretly wonders if my head will show up that day. I then tell myself that any speaker could get sick on the day they are scheduled to present. I tell myself that I can’t live in fear. If I want to improve how patients are educated, which is what I speak about, I have to take a deep breath and believe that everything will be fine. If I defined myself by my disease/condition, I would have missed out on a lot of great opportunities for both myself and my ability to make a difference.
There’s nothing like a health scare to get the adrenaline flowing and the heart pumping. Until my scare, I was just sort of coasting in life. Although my epilepsy sometimes threw me some curve balls, overall, my health was okay. In 2011, coasting, as I knew it, would never be the same after my cancer diagnosis. Even if I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, just the stress of going through tests and not knowing whether or not you have cancer can be an eye-opener.
Suddenly, you can’t take anything for granted any more. If you receive a cancer diagnosis, even when the active treatments stop, the possibility of it returning continues to hang over your head. You have two options. You can either live in a world of worry so that you can never completely enjoy life or you can focus on the fact that you survived and have more time to do what you want to do. You know now you can’t always put off until tomorrow what you can today. Even without a cancer diagnosis, no one truly knows when their time on earth will end, but an attitude adjustment may be necessary if you can’t live life because you’re living in fear of when the end will come.
Words from a Boss or Co-worker
Have you ever complained about something to your boss and/or co-workers? Have you ever made the same complaint so many times that you sounded like a broken record?
Eventually, if you don’t recognize that you may have gotten a little annoying, someone says something and you realize that you have two choices. You either accept that you can’t change what is driving you crazy, or you find a way to change it. As the saying goes, “Talk is cheap.” Not to mention unproductive.
I don’t know if you have a rewards program at work, but I’ve seen it at two companies. While the intent is to recognize deserving people, those people who don’t get awards wonder why they aren’t considered worthy. In their eyes, they did just as much (even more) as the person who was rewarded for their good work.
I’m sorry to say that I became one of those people. I wanted corporate recognition. I felt I deserved it. I actually dismissed the frequent praise that I received from the people who review and use my documentation. How crazy is that? I was receiving praise, which many people don’t get in their places of work, and it wasn’t good enough for me. So now you know. I’m human and make mistakes.
This attitude adjustment also made me realize that, just like I was responsible for my own happiness, I was also responsible for feeling good about my own work. Positive feedback from others is a bonus…not something I actively need to seek.
Once negativity or even complacency sets in, it may be time for an attitude adjustment. Anything (even a wrong attitude) that isn’t moving you forward is a potential slide backwards. Don’t wait for someone or something to wake you up. Be self-aware. Recognize when your behaviour is counter-productive and trigger your own attitude adjustment.
Over 30-years of writing experience, over five years as a cancer survivor, and a lifetime purveyor of wit and laughter.